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UVI to Get First Look of Acclaimed HBCU Documentary on Feb. 19 - University to Lead Off Social Media Conversation

We are Rising - Logo for HBCU's Documentary

The University of the Virgin Islands (UVI) is hosting a pre-screening event of "Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities.”  This thought-provoking 90-minute documentary was written, directed and produced by award-winning documentary filmmaker Stanley Nelson. "Tell Them We Are Rising" examines the impact Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have had on American history, culture, and national identity.  

The University will view the documentary before those on the US mainland at 6 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 19, in the Administration and Conference Center (ACC) Building on the St. Thomas Campus and in the Great Hall on the Albert A. Sheen Campus on St. Croix.  "Tell Them We Are Rising" is the first-ever national broadcast documentary on the impact of HBCUs. 

After the documentary, there will be a panel discussion via video conference from both of UVIs campuses, which will be streamed live on social media on UVI's and WTJX's Facebook pages. Using the #HBCURising, UVI’s audience will lead off the live Twitter Chat. Join the conversation on social media.  Follow UVI on Facebook at or on Twitter - The pre-screening event is a collaborative effort of UVI and WTJX.  The film will air nationally on the acclaimed PBS series, Independent Lens at 10 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 19.  

"As one of the youngest Historically Black Colleges and Universities across the nation, I feel extremely grateful that UVI is able to share in the pre-screening of “Tell Them We Are Rising,” the first documentary that speaks directly to the struggles and successes of our universities and colleges,” said UVI President David Hall.  “HBCUs have made a tremendous impact on higher education, and I am honored and humbled that we are taking part in such an important moment in history. This recognition should be a celebratory occasion for our students, faculty, staff, and administrators at the University of the Virgin Islands.”

“I encourage everyone, including our family and friends in the general public to come and share in this awe-inspiring event,” he said. 

"My parents were the product of HBCUs. For generations, there was no other place our parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents could go to school. Yet, higher education has always been a prerequisite for entering and competing in mainstream American society," Filmmaker Stanley Nelson said. "So, in many ways, Historically Black Colleges and Universities form the foundation of the African-American community.”

"I set out to tell a story of Americans who refused to be denied a higher education, and in their resistance, created a set of institutions that would influence and shape the landscape of the country for centuries to come," he added. "Particularly, it was essential that this film highlight authentic, personal accounts alongside archival footage, letters, diaries, and photographs of the people who have lived the HBCU experience," Nelson said 

"The legacy of these institutions is not marked only by milestones and achievements; it is encapsulated by the minds and lives of the people who walked those storied halls. If education is a cornerstone of society, then HBCUs are the groundwork for advancing justice in America," he concluded. 

The documentary is the second in a three-part series called America Revisited that includes "The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution," which was the most watched Independent Lens program ever, and the forthcoming, "The Slave Trade: Creating A New World."

For more information about the pre-screening event or the documentary contact the Public Relations Office at (340) 693-1059.